1st Virginia Regiment of Col. Parker
The following were taken from various websites.
Nathan Wright's ~ Pension Statement
While on evening parade, a Colonel Parker turned out and called on the Army for volunteers to march immediately to the south who soon formed a regiment which was commanded by Col. Parker. Deponent having himself volunteered and was attached to a company under Benjamin Toliver. Col. Parker's regiment and the regiment immediately took up the line of march from Petersburg VA by Hillsboro and Salisbury NC, Camden and the Ridge So. Carolina to Augusta Georgia. Soon after, the regiment again moved down to Buckhead Spirit Creek and on to the Ogechee quieting the disaffected and checking the fears from the indians. Remaining but a short time at either place and again retraced to Augusta, remaining but a short time there. Again, marched to Spirit Creek where the regiment remained a few weeks and moved to Buckhead again and on to Ogechee and from there marched to Savannah which was at that time in the possession of the British and united with other troops. He believes Gen'l Lincoln was in command beseiging the place in all which deponent was continually with the regiment and was in the attack made on the breastworks at Savannah which terminated unsuccessfully to the American troops and they withdrew. Parker's regiment returned to Augusta where they remained a considerable time, much of the winter. Sometime in February after the siege of Savannah, Parker's regiment was ordered to march to Charleston SC deponent with them, where they remained as deponent now believes until last of April or the first of May. The British made an attack on the city and took possession thereof. In that attack Col. Parker was killed in the 'Half Moon Battery'. Deponent with others made prisoners. In this detention he remained until the 28th of June at night, when an opportunity offered and deponent with one William Esspe (?) deserted from the British and made their way through South Carolina to Orangeburg. Near that place they were retaken by the British. In that deplorable situation measures were made to take them immediately off to Charleston and from there on board a prison ship. While under these threats, an officer of the British Army who was in command, made overtures to deponent and Esspe to enlist for six months with the British Army in which time difficulties would be over and a Sgt. Hawkins, who was one of Parker's regiment 'had enlisted' and made an opportunity to recommend that course with deponent and Esspe which they done with a belief and the recommendation of the Sergeant they could have an opportunity the sooner to desert and go home. They were taken from Orangeburg to Augusta which was then in possession of the British. No opportunity to escape having afforded they remained for some time until taken down the Savannah river to guard boats which were bringing goods and etc. for the use of the troops. When near to Golphinton an opportunity offered and deponent with two other soldiers, Marshall and Taylor, deserted again and made their way to a detachment of American troops under the command of Major James Jackson near to Savannah river on the South Carolina side between Golphinton and Augusta. The dangers of traveling were so great we were recommended and determined to continue until a better opportunity offered of getting back to Virginia in a short time. Thereafter deponent availed himself of enlisting as a volunteer in Colonel Hammond's regiment in Capt Wm. Johnston's company Maj. Perdee's battalion in the detachment. He remained sometime, was at the siege of Augusta, was at the storming of Greason's Fort, from thence marching to various points and routes in South Carolina and eventually reached Cambridge So. Carolina and there met Gen'l. Greene in command, who gave deponent a discharge, altho he continued at the seige of Ninety Six until it was raided, as the discharge was intended for deponents protection travelling home when an opportunity might offer to return home. Soon after this, Colonel Hammond's regiment marched through the upper part of South Carolina by Gen'l Pickens and on Sandy River he left the detachment being the safest route for a return. He started from there and arrived safe in Mecklenburg in Virginia and was absent from the time he went into service until he returned home a period of two years. Soon after this, deponent married, removed to Georgia and has resided in that part of Georgia, Wilkes and Lincoln counties upwards of forty years. Deponent further swears that he has no documentary testimony to prove his service, his discharge from Gen'l Greene he has long since lost. He is a very poor scholar, not capable of keeping accounts, consequently at a loss about dates which he could not keep for he is able to set them out correctly. Nor is he able to prove his actual service by any living witness which he can procure the testimony of at this time. He will be able to prove by standing as a revolutionary character, his standing in society, and the reasonableness of his claim by John Guice and Reverend John H. Walker and John Crofson, all revolutionary soldiers, all of whom will state their knowledge of deponent. Deponent never received a pension nor was his name on the pension list roll of any agency in any state and he hereby relinquishes all but the present.
He further states and declares that in August 1781 he again mustered
into the service of the United States as a private volunteer soldier upon
a tour of two months and served such in the comapny of Capt. Hughes Woodson
of which company William Smith was Lieutenant. His company was attached
at Col Parker's regiment and rendezvoused at Scottsville in Powhattan
County and he marched with his said company and regiment from thence to
Manacana Town Ferry on James River where they remained for about one week
guarding a number of boats which had been collected there with stores for
the use of the Army; from then they marched to Richmond, Virginia where
they remained for a few days, from thence they marched to New Castle on
the Pamunkey or Matoponie, then to Ruffians Ferry on Chickahommy where
they joined Genl. Seven's Brigade thence to Holts old forge where they
lay several days and from thence to Williamsburg where they remained till
the arrival of Genl. Washington and they then marched down the County to
Little York, where the British Army under the command of Cornwallis lay
and commenced the seige of that place. He states and declares that
after his arrival at Little York, he together with the
company in which he served was attached to the regiment of Col. Holkum and Genl. Lawsons Brigade - that he remained with the army till the morning of the day on which the British capitulated and his tour having expired he together with his company and some other of the Militia whose terms of service had also expired were detached to Williamsburg to be discharged, having in their care and guarding about sixty prisioners who had been taken the night previous - that when they reached Williamsburg he was discharged having fully performed his said tour of duty and he returned to his place of residence in Powhattan County, Virginia.
With the "secret" mission of seizing Colonial arms
supplies at Concord, 700 British troops under the command of Lieutenant
Colonel Francis Smith marched all night from Boston and arrived in Lexington
at dawn on April 19, 1775.
Militia Captain John Parker had his militia lined up on Lexington Common. Because he only had 77 men, Parker had no thought of impeding the British. He wanted to make a display of patriot resolve.
But as the militiamen slowly obeyed Major John Pitcairn's order to disperse, a shot was fired - it is not clear from which side - and the green British soldiers, ignoring orders to stop, began firing at will at the fleeing Americans. When Smith regained control, eight Americans lay dead.
As British troops continued down the road to Concord, news of the shooting spread to neighboring communities, and militiamen flocked be the British line of march between Boston and Concord.
At Concord, British soldiers began searching house to house for arms. Smith sent seven companies across the North Bridge to seize the supplies hidden at Colonel James Barrett’s farm. The militiamen who had fallen back to Punkatasset Hill advanced on the three companies left to guard the bridge. As the militia approached, they saw the smoke of burning military supplies rising from the town. Fearing that their homes were being put to the torch, they set out to save them. After the British withdrew across bridge, the colonials continued to advance until the British fired a volley.
Major John Buttrick of Concord then gave the order, "Fire, fellow soldiers, for God's sake, fire!" and for the first time Americans fired a volley into the ranks of British soldiers.
The British, outnumbered four to one with half their officers wounded, retreated to the center of town. The troops returning from Barrett's farm were allowed to march by unchallenged. After pausing about two hours to regroup and feed his troops, Smith begun the march to Boston.
Flankers moved along the mile-long ridge on the left that separated the column from the colonials. At Meriam's corner, where the ridge ended, the flankers had to be drawn in to cross the narrow bridge. The militia, reinforced by companies from towns to the north, gathered near the road. Tired from the march, in frustration and exasperation the British suddenly turned and fired at Captain Parker's regiment, which was gathered around the Meriam House. The house belonged to an officer in Captain Parker's regiment, Benjamin Meriam.
For five hours, the Patriots raged battle on the British, driving them back from Meriam's Corner to Charlestown. From this point on, the British ranks had to ran a gauntlet of colonial fire, with fierce fighting at Bloody Angle, Brooks Hill, Fiske Hill, and other sites.
Exhausted and near panic, the British troops staggered into Lexington at about 2:30, where they were met by 1,000 reinforcements under Lord Hugh Percy. Under cover of artillery, the British rested briefly before starting the final retreat to Boston. Percy knew that his troops were in danger of annihilation unless they kept moving.
The worst fighting occurred on the road into Menotomy (now Arlington), where more than 5,000 men were involved and both sides lost more men than in any other fighting along the road.
After escaping Menotomy, Percy had to use cannon fire several times to scatter the Americans concentrated at his rear. That was probably the edge that allowed him to make it across Charlestown Neck after nightfall, to the safety of Bunker Hill, where the guns of HMS Somerset in Boston Harbor protected him.
-NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
Valentine Cunningham was born in 1755 in Chesterfield County, Virginia and died on October 17, 1832 in Roane County, TN. He is the son of James Cunningham Jr. and Sarah Martin. Valentine was married first to Mary LaPrade on February 13, 1779 in Chesterfield County, VA. The surety for this marriage was an Alexander Cunningham. Mary was the daughter of Andrew LaPrade and Martha (maiden name unknown). On February 19, 1778, Valentine Cunningham enlisted in the service in Virginia, Capt. William Cunningham's company, Col. Richard Parker's regiment for one year of service. Valentine and Mary had the following children:
Jerry Byers adds the following from the Ligon Family book, published in 1950: "...in 1779, three months in Captain Richard Crump's Company in Colonel Parker's Regiment. He next served three months as an express rider and carried an express from General Lafayette to General Wayne. Then served three months in Captain Robert Hughes's Company in Colonel Beverly Randolph's or Colonel John Holcoumbe's regiment and was in the battle of Guilford Court House. Next served three months in Captain Littleberry Mosby's company in Colonel Caul's Regiment and was in the battle of Petersburg."
In 1897, soldier's daughter, Mrs Martha H. Morgan, was 87.
Elizabeth, daughter of John Clark and Ann Rogers Clark, was born in Caroline county, Virginia, February 11, 1768. She married Richard Clough Anderson, also a native of Virginia, about the year 1787. He entered the Revolutionary army, the head of a company, at the beginning of the war, and served in Colonel Parker's regiment, during the winter campaigns of 1776-7, in New Jersey, being at Trenton and Princeton. He participated in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown in 1777, and the next year was commissioned a major. He was also in the battle of Monmouth. His regiment went south in the summer of 1779 and he was wounded in the assault made on Savannah from which he never entirely recovered. Parker, the colonel of the regiment, was killed at the siege of Charleston. Samuel Hopkins succeeded him as colonel, and Major Anderson was promoted to be lieutenant-colonel. This is the same Samuel Hopkins who subsequently conducted two expeditions against the Indians northwest of the Ohio river. Colonel Anderson was taken prisoner at Charleston, but finally succeeded in securing an exchange and served until the close of the war. He was appointed principal surveyor of the lands granted by the state of Virginia to the soldiers of the continental line by the act of December, 1783. He opened his headquarters at Louisville, Kentucky, in July, 1784, and was a representative from Jefferson county to the conventions at Danville in 1784 and 1788.
THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
On this 19th day of June 1818, before me the subscriber, one of the Judges of the circuit court, in and for the state aforesaid, personally appeared Jacob Dooley aged about 63 years; who being by me first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath, make the following statement and declaration, in order to obtain the provision made by the late law of Congress entitled, "an act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land in naval service of the United States in the Revolutionary War;" that he is a citizen of the state of Kentucky, and resident in the county of Madison; and that he was enlisted for one year at Vance's Old field in the state of Virginia on or about the day of 1775 by one Campbell and served in the company commanded by said Campbell untill [sic] duly discharged that he again inlisted [sic] for two years on this day the 1776 in Capt. Gross Scrugg's company fifth Regiment Virginia line there commanded by Cols. Charles Scott and afterwards by Colo. Josiah Parker that this Regt. was a continental establishment that he continued to serve in the said last mentioned corps, or in the service of the United States, in the continental army, against the common enemy, until about the day of 1778 when he was honorably discharged from service at the Valley forge in the state of Pennsylvania; that he was in service about three years and was in the battles of..... That these statements are made from memory only, But can prove this most of them by Maj. John Campbell of Clarke County who served in Capt. Scrugg's company with him. And that he is in reduced circumstances and stands in need of the assistance of his country for support; and that he has lost his discharge, and has no evidence in his power, of his service and discharge, other than that which is here transmitted.
Sworn and declared before me the day and year aforesaid
Military Service Records of Jacob Dooley
3 Oct 1820 Clarke County, KY
Pension File Extracts from National Archives
Commonwealth of Kentucky, Clarke Circuit, Clarke County
On this third day of October in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty, personally appeared in open Court being a Court of record for said Circuit in the County aforesaid the said Court being appropriately constituted a court of record by the laws of this Commonwealth and moreover having the power of fine and imprisonment and keeping a record of it's proceedings which are according to the course of the Common law with a jurisdiction unlimited in joint of amount Jacob Dooley aged sixty five years and resident in Madison County and State aforesaid, who being first duly sworn ascending to law doth on this oath declare that he served in the Revolutionary War as follows: that he enlisted as a private soldier in Capt. Gross Scruggs company of C. C. Josiah Parker's regiment, under the command of Genl..... Green of the Virginia line of infantry and that he is inscribed on the Pension list Roll of the Kentucky agency by a War office certificate bearing date 14th day of April 1819 and numbered 1404 and I do solemnly swear that I was a resident citizen of the United States on the 18th day of March 1818 and that I have not since that time by gift, sale or in any manner disposed of my property or any part thereof with intent thereby so to diminish it as to bring myself within the provisions of the Act of Congress entitled "An Act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and naval service of the United States, in the Revolutionary war posed on the 18th day of Mar. 1818" and that I have not nor has any person in trust for me any property or securities, contracts or debts due me nor have I any income other than what is contained in the schedule hereto annexed and by me subscribed. To wit - Two cows, one yearling calf and one other calf and one mare, four shoats, some articles of household and kitchen furniture and some farming utensils of small value.
That he is indebted to sundry persons about one hundred twenty dollars and that other persons owe him nothing which he expects to collect. That he is by occupation a farmer but due of his age and infirmities he is unable to support himself by its pursuits and that his wife is still alive aged sixty two years old and infirm and incapable of supporting herself and that he and she are incapable of supporting themselves without the aid of the government except by private or public charity. Sworn to and declared at the above date before said Court
Signed Jacob Dooley
Jacob Dooly is found
As a Pvt. 5 Va Regt. Rev. War
The first Muster roll on which He appears is for May 1777
Dated June 9, 1777 and shows Him a Pvt. Capt. Gross
Scrugg's Co. of the 5th Va Regt.Of Foot commanded by Col. Josiah Parker
He enlisted Feb. 13, 1776
Remarks: Left sick in Virginia
5th VA. (1776-1778)
Pvt. Capt. Gross Scrugg's Co., in the 5th Virginia Regiment of Foot of the Continental Forces, commanded by Col. Josiah Parker
Appears on Company Pay Roll
Of the organization named above for the month
Of Oct., 1777
Commencement of pay: Nov. 1
Pay per month: 6 2/3
Time of service: 1 mo.
Amount of pay 2 pounds
Remarks: *as on roll
Signed: Dunton, Copyist
The record of Jacob Dooley follows as found in the papers on file in
pension claim, W. 1837, based upon his service in the Revolutionary War.
The date and place of this soldier's birth and names of his parents are not shown in the claim.
Jacob Dooley enlisted in 1775 at Vance's Old Field, Virginia, for a year, served as private in Captain Campbell's Virginia company until discharged. He also enlisted in 1776 at Portsmouth, Virginia, served as private in Captain Gross Scruggs' company, Colonels Charles Scott's and Josiah Parker's 5th Virginia Regiment and was discharged in 1778 after having served about three years in all.
He was allowed pension on his application executed June 19, 1818, at which time he was aged sixty-three years and a resident of Madison County, Kentucky.
Jacob Dooley died March 26, 1842, in Madison County, Kentucky, but had formerly lived in Garrard County, Kentucky.
In 1820, the soldier's wife was referred to as aged sixty-tow years, name not given' no reference was made to her death.
Jacob Dooley married June 7, 1830, in Garrard County, Kentucky, Nancy Potts.
Soldier's widow, Nancy, was allowed pension on her application executed February 13, 1833, at which time she was aged seventy-four years and a resident of Madison County, Kentucky. She was still residing there in 1855.
June Term 1821
On this fifth day of June in the year One thousand Eight hundred Twenty One personally appeared in Open Court being the Madison Circuit Court for the County aforesaid and a Court of Record so expressly Constituted by the Laws of the Commonwealth and Moreover having the power of fine and imprisonment and keeping a Record of its proceedings do do do) Jacob Dooly who being first Sworn states that he is sixty five years old and resides in the County of Madison aforesaid, that he Served in the Revolutionary war as follows (towit) That he enlisted as a private soldier in Capt. Gross Scruggs Company of Col. Josiah Parkers Regiment under the Command of Gen'.... Green of the Virginia line of infantry and that he is inscribed on the pension List Roll of the Kentucky agency by a War office Certificate bearing date on the 14th day of April 1819 and numbered 9404 and the said Dooly further swears that he was a Resident Citizen of the United States on the 18th day of March 1818 and that he has not Since that time by gift Sale or in any manner disposed of his property or any part thereof with intent thereby so to diminish it as to bring himself within that provisions of the acts of Congress entitled an act to provide for Certain persons engaged in the land and Naval Services of the United States in the Revolutionary War papers on the 18th day of March 1818 and that he has not nor has any person in trust for him any property or securities contract or debts due to him nothing for any income other than what is contained in the schedule hereto annexed and by him Subscribed towit. One heifer calf and one little steer about two years old and horse, some articles of household, kitchen furniture and some farming utensils of small value but at this time he has no hogs or cow and no mare (the hogs and cow mentioned in former schedule being dead and the mare exchanged for the horse above) That he is indebted to sundry persons about one hundred dollars and that other persons owe him nothing which he could collect from them that he is by occupation a farmer but owing to his age and infirmity he is unable to support himself by its pursuits that his wife is still alive aged sixty two years and infirm and incapable of supporting herselves without the aid of the government except by private or public charity. Subscribed and Sworn to at the above date before Said court
(signed) Jacob Dooly
The records show, however, that one Jacob Dooly served in said war as
a private in the 5th Virginia Regiment. His name first appears on a muster
roll for May, 1777, dated June 9, 1777, of Captain Gross Scrugg's Company
of the 5th Virginia Regiment of Foot commanded by Lieutenant Colonel
Josiah Parker, which shows that he enlisted February 13, 1776, and
it last appears on a muster roll for February, 1778, dated March 5, 1778,
which shows him discharged, date of discharge not given. Other records
indicate that he was discharged March 1.
The name Jacob Dooly, Jr., appears as that of a private of the 5th Virginia Regiment on a pay roll of the 3rd Company of that regiment for May, 1777, dated June 9, 1777, which shows that he enlisted February 28, 1776, and that he died January __, 1777.
It is further shown by the records that one William Dooly served in the war mentioned as a private in Captain Gross Scrugg's Company, 5th Virginia Regiment, commanded by Colonel Charles Scott. He is shown to have enlisted February 22, 1776, and to have died in January, 1777, exact date not found.
Jacob Dooley & Nancy of VA. Service w 1837 Bounty Land Warrant 13721-160-55. The date & place of this soldier's birth & names of his parents are not shown in the files. He enlisted at Vance's Old Field, VA for a year, served as private in Capt. Cambell's VA Company until discharged. He enlisted 1776 at Portsmouth, VA. Served as private in Capt. Moss Scrugg's Co. commanded by Col. Charles Scott's and Col. Josiah Parker's 5th Virginia Regiment & discharged in 1778 after having served about 3 years in all. He was allowed pension on his application executed June 19, 1818 at which time he was aged 63 and a resident of Madison Co., KY, but had formerly lived in Gerrard Co., KY. In 1820, the soldier's wife was referred to as age 62. Name not given, no reference made for her death. Jacob married Jun 7, 1830 in Garrard Co., KY. Nancy Potez (Potts) and she was allowed pension on her application executed Feb. 12, 1833 at which time she was aged 74 and a resident of Madison Co., KY. Still residing there in 1855. Jacob made affidavit, 1820, in Clarke Co., KY.
Affidavit: September Court for Fayette county, Kentucky, 1822 Jacob Duly made Oath before me a Justice of the Peace for Said County that in the year 1775 he enlisted for and served three years in Capt. Scrugg's company of the 5th Virginia Regiment on Continental Line, commanded by Col. Josiah Parker, & after he had Served Said period he was thence honorably discharged at the Valley Forge in Pennsylvania. And that he had lost his discharge and has never rec'd his Land Bounty for said service.
William BALLEW, sergeant of artillery, received L29-8 from William Cunningham.
Same entry as for Thomas Ballew re 1781 Act of Assembly. A second
entry shows William received a second payment of L19.17.4
Note: The record does not explicitly identify the William Ballew who received late payment as the William Ballew who served for one but since he was paid by William Cunningham, who was his commanding officer, it was probably the same William Ballew. This William Ballew was the son of Thomas Ballew and Mary Haskins.
July Authorized by Virginia Convention as State Regiment Patrick Henry, last of the "Hanover Gentlemen Independents", is first Commanding Officer
Feb First Virginia is accepted into the Continental Army
Feb - Aug First Virginia trains in Williamsburg, VA Aug Regiment marches north to join "Grand Army" at Harlem Heights
Oct Regiment becomes part of Virginia Brigade under Col. Weedon
Dec Regiment assigned to Lord Stirling's Brigade and take part in Battle of Trenton
Jan Regiment under command of Brig Gen'l Mercer, takes part in Battle of Princeton
Feb Regiment assigned under Brig Gen'l Muhlenbuerg Sept Muhlenburg's & Weedon's Brigades engage in rear guard action at Brandywine.
Oct Regiment as part of Greene's Division takes part in Battle of Germantown
Dec Regiment suffers with fellow patriots at Valley Forge
Jun Regiment takes part in action at Monmouth, last engagement in the North.
Sept The White Plains arrangement reorganizes the Virginia Line. 9th Virginia is absorbed into the remnants of the First
May A second reorganization has 5th, 7th, 10th, & 11thVirginia Regiments consolidated into the First Virginia.
Oct The First Virginia is ordered to the Carolinas.
May The First Virginia Detachment is captured by Sir Henry Clinton at Charleston, SC. With the exception of the Ft. Pitt garrison, and until 1781, only State Line and Militia were left as a defense force. When the war ended for the First Virginia, there were only five companies that could be accounted for and only two officers who could trace their history with the Regiment for more than two years
Sanchez - Saavedra, E.M, "1st Virginia Regiment of Foot, 1775-1783," unpublished dissertation, Virginia State Library, 1975
Sellers, J. R. Virginia Continental Line 1775-1780, University Ann Arbor, MI: Microfilm Inc., 1972 "Virginia Soldiers in the Revolution," Virginia State Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 20, 65-67
Ward, C., The War of the Revolution, Vols. 1 & 2, NY, MacMillan Co., 1952 (esp. 352,369,582)
The First Virginia Regiment was authorized by the Virginia Convention of July 17, 1775, as a provincial defense unit composed of six musket and two rifle companies under the command of Patrick Henry. Each company was to consist of 68 enlisted men, with officers to include a captain, lieutenant and ensign (second lieutenant). Six of the companies were armed with muskets, and two with rifles.
In September the companies began arriving in Williamsburg from the surrounding counties where each was recruited. The regiment encamped behind the College of William and Mary where the men were trained in military drill and maneuvers. On December 28, 1775, the Continental Congress in Philadelphia recommended that each regiment should have 10 companies, and the First Virginia soon raised two more musket companies.
The First, along with the Second Regiment saw service in the Tidewater area fighting the troops of Virginia's Royal Governor, Lord Dunmore. Dunmore raised two Loyalists regiments and a small unit made up of runaway slaves to reclaim the wayward government of the colony. Two British Grenadier companies soon augmented his force. Members of the First Virginia engaged Dunmore's troops at Hampton, Jamestown and Norfolk. On December 9th, 1775, three companies from the First joined the Second Virginia Regiment in defeating Dunmore's troops at the Battle of Great Bridge near Norfolk. Dunmore made several more attempts to gain a stronghold on the colony but in August 1776 he abandoned Virginia.
The First Virginia spent the winter with Washington's army at Morristown, New Jersey. The fifteen Virginia Regiments had a total of 2,925 men fit for duty, averaging less than 200 men each. Troop strength was low because of expired enlistments, disease, and battle casualties. The First Virginia could only muster 64 privates present and fit for duty, and all troops were in need of clothing and other necessities.
Washington's troops spent the winter and spring recruiting and rebuilding
the army. The main British Army under General Howe in New York made several
forays into New Jersey. Washington waited for Howe to move out of New York,
expecting him to move his army north to join General Burgoyne near Albany.
Instead, Howe eventually sailed his troops to Head of Elk, Maryland where
they began to march on Philadelphia.
Brandywine and Germantown
On August 24, 1777, Washington's Army of 16,000 regulars and militia marched through Philadelphia to Wilmington, Delaware, and by September 11, the two armies were poised for battle near Brandywine Creek, Pennsylvania.
Howe divided his force for a frontal attack on the Americans and a flanking attack on the American right. Washington tried to counter the British flanking movement, ordering Green's division, including the First Virginia, to support the outflanked Americans under General Sullivan. Greene's men covered almost four miles in 45 minutes, arriving to find Sullivan's men retreating in a rout. Greene's Virginians opened their line to allow the panicked Americans through and then held off the advancing British to allow Washington's Army to fall back and retire in order. Greene's troops held out against an enemy force three times larger until nightfall, preventing the British from destroying the entire American army.
Although Washington's Army had been outmaneuvered at Brandywine, they had fought a larger British force and managed to hold them off until dark. The American's spirits were high and Washington was anxious for another chance to engage the enemy. The British continued their march to Philadelphia, with Washington looking for an opportunity to make a stand against them. On September 15 he marched his army into battle formation before the British but a severe storm rendered the American's ammunition useless and drove them from the field. The British entered Philadelphia unopposed on September 26.
Continuing to look for a favorable opportunity to engage the British, Washington decided to attack a large enemy force garrisoned at Germantown, Pennsylvania. Washington devised a plan that included dividing his force into several divisions that would march separately through the night and attack from different directions simultaneously at dawn on October 4th.
As part of Muhlenberg's Brigade, the First Virginia arrived an hour after Sullivan's troops began the attack on the main British camp. A heavy fog made the complex plan even more confusing and some of the American troops even began to fire on one another.
When the fighting started, a small enemy force retreated into the Chew House, a heavy stone manor that proved almost impervious to canon attack. A large part of the American force was delayed trying to force the British inside the house to surrender. In the mean time Sullivan and Greene's troops managed to attack the main British force, with Greene's Virginians driving through the British line in a bayonet charge that carried to the enemy's camp. Prisoners were taken by the First Virginia, but with the rest of the American attack still in confusion or stalled at the Chew House, the Virginians found themselves surrounded by the enemy and forced to fight their way out. The Virginians lost 100 prisoners they had taken, and in the process, nearly all of the Ninth Virginia Regiment was captured. The battle ended with the Americans withdrawing and Greene's division holding off a determined British attack as the Americans fell back.
Over the next two months both Washington and Howe looked for favorable opportunities to renew the fighting but neither found one to his liking.
The winter of 1777-1778 saw the First Virginia Regiment with Washington's
Army at Valley Forge. The troops built log huts and many of the officers
of the Virginia Regiments were sent home during the winter to recruit for
their vastly under-strength units. The American Army at Valley Forge, including
the men of the First Virginia, were taught the new American Drill under
the command of Baron von Steuben. During the winter, General Howe returned
to England, and General Clinton took command of the British in Philadelphia.
By June, Clinton decided to move his army back to New York City, and Washington
saw an opportunity to take on the British with his newly trained Army.
On June 28, Washington ordered General Charles Lee with 2,000 men to
attack the rear of the marching British column. Lee's force joined by 1,500
Americans under General Charles Scott, soon found themselves facing the
entire British Army. General Lee retreated while the Americans under General
Scott held until surrounded and then they too retreated in good order.
Falling back about two miles, the retreating Americans ran into General
Washington riding ahead of the main American Army.
Washington managed to halt the retreat and form the Americans into a line of battle while more troops arrived to extend the line on high ground. When the British arrived they made several attacks but without coordination each was repulsed. In Sterling's Brigade, the First Virginia, alongside the First and Third New Hampshire Regiments, attacked the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment. Both sides exchanged volleys at short range with the Highlanders forced to retreat from the field. Several men of the First Virginia were killed, including Major Edmund Dickinson, while the Highlanders sustained heavy casualties.
By the end of the afternoon, heat had also taken the lives of men on both sides of the field. Both armies rested overnight and Clinton moved the British on toward New York early the next morning. With the Americans standing up to and repulsing the British the battle was considered a great victory for Washington and his Army.
By September 1778, the entire Virginia Continental Line was reduced in strength due to the hardships of campaign and disease and the three-year enlistments of many of the soldiers was about to expire. A board of officers met at White Plains, New York to consolidate the fifteen Virginia regiments to eleven. The remains of the 9th Virginia, which had suffered the capture of many of it's men at Germantown, was absorbed into the First, but this only filled six of the prescribed eight companies.
In May of 1779, and again in September 1779, the Virginia Regiments were consolidated to create regiments of acceptable strength. The First Virginia was consolidated with the 10th and later the 5th, 7th, 11th Regiments. On May 7, Washington ordered Colonel Richard Parker, commander of the First Virginia to return to the state to recruit new troops to reinforce General Benjamin Lincoln in Charleston, South Carolina. At the same time, the men of the First Virginia were placed under the temporary command of Colonel William Davies in Parker's absence.
By the summer of 1779 the war in the north had become a stalemate, with Clinton and the main British Army quartered in New York and Washington's main army at various points outside the city. Washington decided to have his newly formed light infantry attack a British fort at Stony Point, New York. Under the command of General Anthony Wayne, 1,500 Americans, including men from the First Virginia and other Virginia Regiments, attacked the fort in the early morning hours of July 16. Using only their bayonets, the Americans captured the fort and 400 British troops in just fifteen minutes. Fifteen Americans were killed in the attack, including a private from the First Virginia.
In August, members of the First Virginia took part in another raid on a small British fort at Paulus Hook, New Jersey. Major Henry Lee and his cavalry, supported by handpicked infantry, including 21 men from the First and 10th Virginia, captured 158 British at the fort during the daring raid. The rest of the First Virginia was called on to support Lee as his force made their return through enemy territory.
In December, under the command of General William Woodford, the First
Virginia, along with most of the Virginia troops in the north, began the
long march south to join General Lincoln's army in the Carolinas.
General Woodford arrived in Charleston on April 7, 1780 with the remains of his Virginia troops. With Woodford were only 700 of the 2,000 men that had started the march in December. Many of the troops had their terms of enlistment expire during the four-month march; others had fallen ill or deserted. Woodford's men were organized into a brigade made up of the First, Second and Third Continental Regiments. Colonel William Russell was commander of the First Virginia at this time.
Colonel Richard Parker had arrived with his newly raised regiment
on March 31, now referred to as the First Virginia Detachment and separate
from the First Virginia Continental Regiment. Parker was joined
by the Second Virginia Detachment under the command of Colonel William
The British under General Clinton arrived by sea and began the siege of Charleston on April 14. By April 21 the Americans in the city were cut off on the landside as well. On April 24, Colonel Parker was killed during a British assault. Henry Lee described his death: "Always beloved and respected, late in the siege he received a ball in the forehead, and fell dead in the trenches, embalmed in the tears of his faithful soldiers, and honored by the regret of the whole army."
By May 7 provisions were low with casualties mounting daily. After conferring with his officers, Lincoln agreed to surrender terms on May 12, 1780. Over 5,000 American troops were captured, including almost all of the Virginia Continental Line. The terms of surrender stipulated that the militia would be allowed to go home, while the regulars would be imprisoned within the town. The officers were soon moved to quarters outside the city, awaiting exchange. Some months later many of the captured were moved to harsher conditions aboard British prison ships where many perished or remained until the end of the war.
Some men of the First Virginia managed to escape capture, perhaps by posing as militia when they were allowed to leave. In addition, several lieutenants were not in Charleston with their companies and were not captured. Some of these men found service with other units in the months after the fall of Charleston. The "new" Ninth Virginia Regiment, in garrison at Fort Pitt was the only Virginia Continental Regiment to remain in the field.
Many individuals who served with the First Virginia and were not in
captivity participated in the battles that followed, including the victories
at Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse and Yorktown. These included men whose
enlistments in the First Virginia expired and who later reenlisted with
other units, as well as officers who were promoted to higher ranks in other
1781 - 1783
On February 12, 1781, a board of officers met at Chesterfield Court House, Virginia and created the First Virginia Regiment as a "paper" organization. With over 1,300 Virginia Continentals still held prisoner at Charleston, South Carolina, the reorganization was largely designed to establish relative seniority of the officers. The personnel who had managed to escape capture were formed into a temporary battalion under Lt. Col. Thomas Posey.
In May 1782, with most of the fighting over, another board of officers
met and created new First and Second Regiments from new recruits and veterans.
On January 1, 1783, the various Virginia troops still in service were consolidated
into one large battalion, designated the First Virginia Regiment, and a
small battalion of two companies, designated the Second. Most of Virginia's
Continental's were mustered out of service in June 1783, with the final
three companies of the first being discharged in July or August.
The First Virginia Regiment of Foot, by M. Lee Minnis, 1990, Willow Bend Books.
A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations in the American Revolution, 1774 - 1787, by E.M. Sanchez-Saavedra, 1978, Virginia State Library
The Continental Army
The Revolutionary War may have been another one of those "rich man's war, poor man's fight" - but many Virginians did fight. They were recruited to serve intially in the First Virginia Regiment. Additional regiments were raised, and then many were transferred to the emerging "national" Continental army - where they served outside of the new state, in the northern colonies and then in South Carolina.
George Washington was given command of the first multi-colony army. He had not-so-subtly dressed in his old French and Indian War uniform, while Congress debated who was trustworthy enough to lead the military forces... but not try to become a dictator on the process. He left the Philadelphia, where the Continental Congress was meeting, and did not return to Virginia for six years (when he stopped at Mount Vernon on the march to Yorktown). Martha managed to join him for winter camps, providing some moral support to the troops as well as to her husband.
The Continental Army was organized by state, and the Virginia troops were in the Virginia Line. Almost all Virginians serving in the Continental Army were captured in the disastrous surrender by General Benjamin Lincoln of the army at Charlestown, South Carolina in 1780.
An additional 350 under Colonel Abraham Buford in the 3rd Virginia Cavalry were killed or wounded at Waxhaws, South Carolina. They were reinforcements who arrived too late to help the Charleston garrison, and were caught by Banastre Tarleton's dragoons while retuning to Virginia. In the "Waxhaws Massacre," Tarleton's men killed over 100 while they apparently tried to surrender. However, there's another perspective:
"As Tarleton came forward to discuss surrender, his horse was shot from
under him and he was pinned under it while his dragoons, thinking he had
been killed under a flag of truce, gave the Virginians no quarter. There
is a monument a half a mile from the battle site, which is now known as
Buford Crossroads and surrounding community known as Buford."2
Craig Scott described the impact of the surrender on Virginia's forces in the Continental Army, in a message posted to the VA-HIST listserver on August 15, 2001:
The loss of the Charleston garrison was a severe blow, probably the
heaviest the American side would suffer during the entire war. More than
5,000 Continental soldiers, militia, and private citizens were officially
surrendered to the British. In his official returns, General Benjamin Lincoln
counted about 2,200 Continentals (about 500 sick and wounded included)
and about 500 reliable militia. Also captured were 391 pieces of artillery,
6,000 muskets, 33,000 rounds of ammunition, and 3 frigates. [David B. Mattern,
Benjamin Lincoln and the American Revolution. Columbia, S.C.: University
of South Carolina Press, 1995.]
Another source has 5,500 defenders of the city, 2,500 of which were militiamen of questionable quality. 5,466 armed men were captured, 391 artillery pieces, 5,916 muskets, 33,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, over 8,000 round shot and 376 barrels of powder. [Dan L. Morrill, Southern Campaingns of the American Revolution. Mount Pleasant, S.C.: The Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company, 1993.]
The movement of Virginia troops to Charleston can be found in M. Lee Minnis, The First Virginia Regiment of Foot. Westminster, Md.: Willow Bend Books, 1998. On 8 March Woodfords force at Petersburg departed with 737 men fit for duty. The force was divided into three detachments: Col. William Russell leading the 1st Regiment and Cols. Gist and John Neville. (This 1st Regiment was a consolidation of the 1st, 5th, 7th, 10th and 11th). Woodford arrived in Charleston on 7 April. A Hessian in his diary wrote that General Woodford arrived in Charleston with 700 men. Col. Parker of the First was kille in a British barrage on 24 April at Half-Moon Battery. Col. Parker's First Virginia Detachemnt of Scott's Brigade and Col. William Heth's Second Detachment of Scott's Brigade were responsible for defending this area.
Minnis reports that 5,500 Continentals and milita were captured. Of these 336 were from the First Virginia. Of the 274 Officers at Haddrell's Point awaiting exchange, 115 were Virginians.
Based on E. M. Sanchez-Saavedra. A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations in the American Revolution, 1774-1787. 1978, reprinted Westminster, Md.: Willow Bend Books, 2001:
1st Virginia Regiment (a consolidation of the 1st, 5th, 7th, 10th, 11th) assigned to Woodford's brigade - surrendered.
2nd Virginia Regiment (a consolidation of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th) assigned to Woodford's brigade - surrendered, except for a handful of men under Captain Alexander Parker who returned to Virginia. Captains Thomas Catlett and John Stokes were with Buford.
3rd - consolidated with the 2nd and surrendered.
4th - consolidated with the 2nd and surrendered.
5th - consolidated with the 1st and surrendered. Captain Adam Wallace was on detached service with Buford.
6th - had earlier been consolidated with the 3rd what was consolidated with the 2nd - surrendered.
7th - consolidated with the 1st - surrendered.
8th - not at Charleston. Sent to the Carolinas as a part of the temporary 3rd Regiment.
9th - not at Charleston. Served west of the Alleghenies.
10th - consolidated with the 1st - surrendered.
11th - consolidated with the 1st - surrendered, except for Buford's Detachment.
12th - renumbered the 8th in 1778, not in existence in 1780
13th - renumbered the 9th in 1778, not at Charleston.
14th - renumbered the 10th in 1778
15th - renumbered the 11th in 1778.
Col. Nathaniel Gist's Additional - surrendered at Charleston
Col. Thomas Gaskins Detachment - made up of some of those who escaped capture at Charleston
1st Regiment of Continental Artillery (Harrison's) - a large number captured at Charleston.
1st Regiment of Continental Dragoons - most escaped capture.
3rd Regiment of Continental Dragoons - Captain William Barrett, a native of N.C. was captured.
1st Virginia State Line - not at Charleston.
Lt. Col. Charles Porterfied's State Detachment - arrived after the fall of Charleston, escaped capture and joined Gates army.
Virginia State Artillery Regiment. - all but one company captured which joined Porterfield.
Major John Nelson's Regiment of Virginia State Cavalry - arrived late, joined Porterfield.
In a lot fewer words, if you were a Virginian Continental in the service in 1780 you were more than likely captured at Charleston, and if you missed that you probably died at Waxhaws with Buford or at Camden with Porterfield.
- Gen Danl Morgan coming out of retirement to lead continental troops at Cowpens.
There were not just Continentals at Cowpens. The militia began the day.
Captain Francis Triplett, raised Fauquier
Captain James Winn, raised Fauquier
Captain James Gilmore, raised Rockbridge
Captain Robert Craven, raised Rockingham
as were two rifle companies under:
Col. Charles Lynch
Col. William Campbell